Dr. Lorelle Saxena, DACM, L.Ac., loves boots, bicycling, and beet greens. Her favorite weekends are the ones spent in the garden and the kitchen with her spouse Adam, their young son Kamal, and their busy rescue dog, Belly. Her clinical work focuses on empowering patients to achieve better health through self- reflection, acupuncture, and subtle lifestyle shifts.
Who do you admire, and why?
The very first person who comes to mind is my mother-in-law, Leslie. She is unfailingly kind and has vast stores of patience. Every time I’ve seen her interact with anyone, that person leaves the interaction feeling better, more seen, more at ease. That’s how I want to be in the world, too, so sometimes when I’m not sure what the right decision is, I ask myself, “What would Leslie do?”
What was the last best thing you ate?
Adam is a really great cook and basically everything he makes is the best thing! I think my favorite two dishes he’s ever made are Hainan chicken rice and lamb biryani. But he also throws down an amazing cheeseburger.
Name something you do or do not regret.
When everything shut down in March of 2020, I closed my acupuncture practice, thinking it would just be for three weeks. It wasn’t exactly a choice—I couldn’t figure out how to balance running a business while helping my kiddo navigate remote learning and isolation during a pandemic. I really worried I’d regret closing, that I’d lose the momentum I’d built over the past 11 years. But now, as I reopen two years later—with support from our wonderful community—all I feel is gratitude for the privilege of spending that time with Kamal.
What 3 things bring you joy?
My kiddo’s contagious laughter, new seedlings emerging from dirt, eating cherry tomatoes off the vine in summer.
Where else have you lived?
I was born in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, but my family moved to Honolulu when I was seven months old. I left Hawai’i to go to college in New York City and stayed there for 12 years, then moved to San Diego for a year to finish my master’s degree in traditional Chinese medicine before moving here. Of all those places, Santa Rosa is my favorite place I’ve ever lived.
What are you good at making?
Harmonies! My best friend Ursa Born and I have a ukulele band, Sorry Not Sorry. I love arranging pieces for us.
Recall a time you changed your mind about something.
In my early 20s, I decided I would never, ever move out of Manhattan. Then I fell in love with my now-husband, who was living in Sonoma County. The first time I visited, I knew it was where I wanted to be. Now that I’ve lived here for nearly 15 years—now that I’ve seen the people here rally together in the face of wildfires, floods, severe drought and systemic racism—I love it even more, flaws and all, in a stronger, realer way.
What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
First of all, if I knew I couldn’t fail, I would be cowed by the responsibility of guaranteed success. But then I’d get over it and set to work completely reforming healthcare in the United States. Everyone would have fully government-funded care—including dental, vision and mental health care—which would include making sure everyone is safely sheltered and has access to appealing, nutritious food. I’d change what we think of when we hear the word “healthcare” from something that happens in a doctor’s office to something that encompasses your whole life, something that we all do as a matter of course for each other.
If you could instantly have one skill, what would it be?
That is a hard toss-up between perfect fluency in Mandarin Chinese and unbeatable hip hop freestyle dance battle skills.
You host an intimate dinner party with up to four guests, living or not. Who’s coming?
Oh, I wish I could do this! Definitely my mom, and her mom, and my two maternal great-grandmothers. None of them are living anymore, and I have so many questions for them! But I’d also just love to sit quietly and listen to them talk to each other. They would be speaking in Mandarin Chinese, and in real life I only understand a tiny bit—but since this is a wish, I would understand every word.
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